Everett Painter, PhD

Associate Professor

Pennsylvania Western University (Edinboro Campus)

Member Since 2011

ACA is a community of diverse, vibrant counselors and educators who are changing lives and the world at large. Everett Painter is an active member in the organization, having served as a mentor through the ACA Mentorship Program, co-chair of the ACA Ethics Committee, and now as a member of the ACA International Committee. He is a strong advocate for increasing the availability of mental health care to the underserved. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the mental health field today? 

Access. Given the important role counseling plays in managing lives, it is unconscionable that so many go underserved or must wait lengthy periods to access services. Further, high client-to-counselor ratios result in clinicians who manage heavy caseloads. We must continue to be vigilant as a profession, advocate where possible, and advance awareness of mental health needs in society. We all benefit by increasing the availability of high-quality mental health services.  

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about counseling?  

A big misconception about counseling is that someone is going to define your problems for you and tell you what to do. The best counselors rigorously avoid advice-giving. Rather, counselors utilize the working alliance to collaborate with clients and facilitate a process where clients explore, gain insight, and develop solutions from their own individual, unique perspectives and worldviews. This orientation builds strengths, advances autonomy, and respects human dignity. 

What role do you think counseling plays in the delivery of mental health services in today's society? 

Modern day life is demanding and challenging. Counseling provides an important means for understanding the world, negotiating personal obstacles, and equipping us to reach our full potential. This takes place within the context of education and wholeness.  A focus on development across the lifespan lays the foundation for improved mental health. 

What do you do to take care of yourself and rejuvenate yourself?   

Listening to music. 

What outside of counseling brings you joy? Tell us about your hobbies or outside interests.  

Spending time with my family, traveling to new places, messing with technology, and exploring record stores. 

If you’d like to share how ACA membership or participation has helped you along your career journey, please do! 

We all have a responsibility to be engaged with the governing bodies of the profession. In the case of ACA, it has provided enriching educational experiences during my days as a grad student and has continued to do so throughout my life as a professional. The networking and developmental opportunities afforded are too numerous to list.